Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Montgomerie reaches milestone in Andalucía

Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, the most prolific British winner in European Tour history, will celebrate his 500th European Tour appearance as a professional at next week’s Open de Andalucía. Montgomerie, who will captain Europe at The 2010 Ryder Cup, will bid to capture his 32nd European Tour title when he tees up at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. The record-breaking Scot opened his account on his 54th European Tour appearance back in 1989, when he cruised to an 11-shot win at the Portuguese Open – his biggest margin of victory in a European Tour event. Since then the 45 year old has re-written the history books several times, having amassed a total of €23,639,775 in European Tour Official Career earnings, recorded 182 European Tour top ten finishes, set 13 European Tour course records, and lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy for finishing European Tour Number One eight times. In addition, he has notched eight holes-in-one on The European Tour, won six European Tour titles in a single season, received The European Tour Golfer of the Year award four times, and captured three consecutive BMW PGA Championship titles. Montgomerie said: “I am very fortunate to have reached the landmark of playing in my 500th European Tour event as a professional. I am very lucky that my career is also my passion, and that I still enjoy the thrill of competing just as much as I did when I started out on The European Tour 20 years ago. “Over the years and the 499 professional events I have played in, I have been delighted and proud to be part of The European Tour and to see it develop into the thriving worldwide Tour it stands as today. My 500th event will be the Open de Andalucía, a tournament run by Miguel Ángel Jiménez, a good friend and a great player. When he asked me to take part in the event, I immediately said yes.” Jiménez is again promoting the event which for the first time will be played at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, a course designed in 1992 by another of Montgomerie’s close friends, fellow Ryder Cup star José Maria Olazábal of Spain. The careers of the two men are closely linked – indeed, as far back as 1984, Olazábal claimed The Amateur Championship at Montgomerie’s expense. Three years later Montgomerie turned professional, and collected his first pay cheque – for €1,905 – after a tied 45th finish at the 1987 German Masters. Twenty years later, in July 2007, he won the more substantial sum of €593,580 after surpassing Nick Faldo’s previous record of 30 European Tour titles with his one-shot victory at The European Open at The K Club in Ireland – also the scene of his 2006 triumph over American David Toms, which ensured he remained unbeaten in eight Ryder Cup singles matches stretching back to 1991. Montgomerie went on to cap the 2007 season in some style by partnering compatriot Marc Warren to victory at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China, thereby securing Scotland’s first win in the event. He will now fulfil a lifetime’s ambition by captaining Europe at The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

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